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I think that it was probably initially cultivated

the substrate on the other side when you pull the root out of the ground or when you peel it, or when you macerate the leaves, and you put the enzyme and the substrate both in contact with each other. Voila, cyanide. In fact, in the markets in Liberia, they'll take the leaves, pass it through a meat grinder, and you can actually smell the cyanide as it comes off, as the leaves are crushed.

So this is what it looks like. It's pantropical, initially in South America, then the Portuguese pick it up in the 1600s and bring it to Africa. And the people do what they always do with roots, peel it and boil it. And it's a Native American cultivar.

I think that it was probably initially cultivated about 6,000 or 7,000 years ago. When we talk about co-evolution, what we're talking about is reciprocal genetic influences by non-overlapping gene pools. So for example, we eat a tomato. The tomato and us, we don't share the same gene pool. Maybe metaphorically, but in actuality, there's the tomato genome and then there's the human genome.

But the products of the tomato can influence the functioning of our genomes. And our actions can influence the functioning of the tomato genome. So that's what we call co-evolution, where the evolution of two non-overlapping organisms, one influencing the other, they will merge together.

They will mutually influence each other. And usually we talk about these co-evolutionary dyads, that's where two different organisms come together. But something's really interesting about that, because when you have a successful dyad, it usually attracts a third species, kind of like how attractive married men are to single women?

Maybe it's something that married men give off, and then single women say-- well, the joke is that a guy shows up with a really attractive woman and the men say, I want a woman like that. A woman shows up with a really attractive guy and the women say, I want that guy.